CORA/ECRA Joint Venture
East County Repeater Association ‘ECRA’ was founded in 1982 as a repeater association that was technologically ahead of its time. They had talking repeater controllers, weather stations, and remote bases for each band which was cutting edge; think pre-cell phones. The CalZona link came around when mutual friends in the Arizona Repeater Association ‘ARA” and ECRA decided to try a long distance link between systems, hence the CalZona link was born in the late 80’s. Now hams in the desert recreation areas could check in with friends and family back in San Diego; think pre-cell phones. Smith Peak and White Tanks are wholly owned and maintained by ARA; you will hear a double beep when they key up. Black Mt in the desert is owned and maintained by ECRA. The CalZona link has been a fixture in the San Diego ham scene for a few decades and the Sunday night net is well attended. In January of this year a storm heavily damaged the antenna on Monument peak and knocked down the repeater. ECRA was already struggling to pay astronomical site rental on Monument and was in danger of losing the site and losing the CalZona link. The leadership of CORA and ECRA are good life long friends and one day at lunch an idea was hatched. CORA would assume the CalZona link in order to maintain it and the Joint Venture was born.
Cactus Open Repeater Association ‘CORA’ also has its roots in the 80’s when a group of hams lead by Denny Chase W6HDC built a system that covered San Diego with the intention of having a high availability, excellent quality, system of repeaters that would be free to all users. This was almost unheard of at the time which was dominated by fee based repeater systems. CORA has always been ahead of the curve which made the Joint Venture a sustainable thing.
ECRA is still ECRA with meetings the first Monday of the month and a vibrant monthly email and webpage presence. ECRA maintains open stand-alone repeaters on Otay, Rattlesnake and Palomar which are open to all licensed hams. Membership in ECRA is free and the philosophy is open friendly operation.
CORA is still CORA with an active group of diverse hams, inviting new members and quick to Elmer anyone asking for help. CORA hosts several popular nets each week.
The Joint venture is intended make available to San Diego hams the ability to communicate over a longer distance and enhance emergency communication abilities reaching out to Borrego and beyond via the CalZona link.